The lesson of Juicero: corporate writing should not sound like a superhero movie

It’s been a tough week for Juicero, a startup company that makes an internet-connected juicing machine. Some Bloomberg reporters figured out you could make juice from the juice packs without using the Juicero machine at all. The CEO’s response on Medium is completely ineffective, because he can only see the world from within his limited, Silicon-Valley … Continued

The inflamed rhetoric of the Trump justification for bombing Syria

President Trump, outraged by the use of nerve gas on civilians, launched 59 cruise missiles at the airfield that Bashar al-Assad uses in Syria. Then he made a statement justifying the action. It’s a case study in Trumpspeak — does the pileup in intensifying adjectives and adverbs make a statement more persuasive, or more suspect? In my … Continued

Pepsi delivers a clueless apology for a clueless ad

Pepsi’s launched a poorly thought out, protest-themed commercial starring Kendall Jenner. Actual protesters protested the commercial, and Pepsi withdrew it. But Pepsi’s apology is as mild and clueless as its commercial — and demonstrates how advertisers had better steer clear of political minefields. The ad is set in a diverse street protest clearly based on Black Lives … Continued

What advertisers said (and didn’t say) about the now radioactive “The O’Reilly Factor”

According to The New York Times, five women have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment or similar behavior and received $13 million in settlements. Some “O’Reilly Factor” advertisers have pulled their advertising; others haven’t. But what these advertisers share is their mealy-mouthed, platitudinous statements. Here’s what they are actually thinking — and how they should permanently … Continued

How to fly readers directly to their destination: a lesson from Etihad Airways

When the Trump administration banned electronics larger than a mobile phone for passengers from several Middle East airports, airlines needed to respond. A press release from Etihad Airways tries to explain the problem and their solution, but circles around aimlessly instead. Here’s how to use a ROAM analysis to make communications like this better. Etihad’s email … Continued

Symantec deserves a certificate for shouting about Google

Google’s Chrome browser is going to stop accepting security certificates from Symantec. This is a big deal: for a browser to recognize a site as secure, it has to accept that site’s certificate, and more than 30% of all sites use Symantec certificates. Google announced this is a direct but technical way, then Symantec responded with exaggerated whining … Continued

As Uber president Jeff Jones quits, CEO Travis Kalanick ignores the toxic context

The bad news at Uber keeps on coming. This weekend, its President of Ridesharing and second-in-command, Jeff Jones, quit after only six months. This was an opportunity for Uber’s founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, to take responsibility for problems that contributed to this departure. He failed. The context for the Jeff Jones departure First, some background. … Continued